Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
'MONTY PYTHON'S SPAMALOT'
8 p.m. Weekend Theater. $16-$20.
Based on the 1975 comedy "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," the smash hit "Monty Python's Spamalot" is without question among the most successful Broadway shows of the last decade. The musical comedy was "lovingly ripped off" from the cult favorite film by Eric Idle. Sure, there was some grumbling from certain quarters of the Python camp (Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones didn't sound too high on it when it debuted, with the former describing it as "Python-lite" and the latter, somewhat less charitably, as "utterly pointless"). But audiences voted with their wallets, to the tune of a first-run gross of more than $175 million. The show has toured nationally three times, pointing to the durability of not only the Python brand, but of the musical itself, which won three Tony Awards, three Drama Desk Awards and a Grammy. The Weekend Theater's production runs through July 28. (Note: the opening night performance is at 8 p.m., but subsequent Friday and Saturday shows will start at 7:30 p.m. All Sunday shows are at 2 p.m.)
'LEGALLY BLONDE: THE MUSICAL'
7:30 p.m. The Public Theatre. $14-$16.
Omigod! You guys! For serious! Community Theatre of Little Rock is totes producing "Legally Blonde: The Musical" at The Public Theatre! You know, the hit musical based on the 2001 film starring Reese "Don't You Know Who I Am?" Witherspoon! Now, maybe some of you guys out there would say that you'd rather have your ears ripped off and fed to starving wolves than have to go see a musical — any musical, really, but specifically this one. Even though maybe they've been getting hints for years now that their girlfriends really like musicals and would maybe enjoy being taken out to see one every once in a freakin' blue moon. But nooooo, that's just too much to ask. They want to stay in and get stoned and watch "Koyaanisqatsi" for the zillionth time. But you know what? Those guys are just a bunch of cynical, insecure jerks who don't know how to enjoy anything and only know how to tear things down and make fun of stuff! Because you know, it's like, "Legally Blonde" is actually a pretty funny and smart movie no matter what the stuck-up jerkwads say! So they can just sit at home and read their Cormac McCarthy books or whatever while their girlfriend and her best friends have a girls night out and go see "Legally Blonde: The Musical" and then stay out really late and have to take a cab home and have a really good time! So there! The show runs through July 28, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
FRIDAY 7/12-SUNDAY 7/14
EUREKA SPRINGS FAT TIRE FESTIVAL
Various times and venues.
The Fat Tire Festival is probably one of the best-loved annual throw-downs in all of Eureka Springs, which is saying something in a town that takes its annual throw-downs pretty seriously. This one is of special interest for enthusiasts of two-wheeled manual transportation, a.k.a., the good ol' bicycle. There's a huge variety of competitive and non-competitive events, for all ages and skill levels, from your youngsters just starting out to your oldsters just out for a good time to, of course, your totally gnarbone adrenaline junkie off-road mud maniac jump-fiends. All are welcome. And there'll be lots of fun to be had even for non-riders, what with all the after-parties, pool parties, awards ceremonies and spectator thrills all over town. The kids rodeo is back this year and bigger than ever, with new stunts and games for the young'uns. And while you're in Eureka Springs, don't forget to eat a whole bunch of good food, as Fleur Delicious Weekend is in full swing.
ROYAL THUNDER, ADAM FAUCETT & THE TALL GRASS BUFFALO
10 p.m. White Water Tavern.
Man y'all, "CVI" — the full-length released last year by Relapse Records from Georgia trio Royal Thunder — is bad-to-the-bone start to finish. There are straight-up rockers ("No Good," parts of the otherwise spaced-out "South of Somewhere"), moments of Judas Priest-like theatricality (opener "Parsonz Curse") and '90s alt-rock from the heavier end of the spectrum ("Whispering World") and Earth-y desert twang (the spooky, slow-build "Sleeping Witch"). The album closes with the slow-fist-pump-inducing "Black Water Vision." Now, any assessment of Royal Thunder would be incomplete without noting the badassness of singer/bassist Mlny Parsonz. She's wailing with the ferocity of Ann Wilson one moment and cooing like an evil Stevie Nicks the next. Of course, even a really great singer can't carry a band if the tunes aren't there, and fortunately, Royal Thunder writes varied, interesting, engaging songs that'll pull you back in for repeat listens. The band is supposed to be killer live so don't skip this one. Opening up is the redoubtable Arkansas great Adam Faucett with The Tall Grass Buffalo.
8 p.m. Magic Springs' Timberwood Amphitheater. $50-$60.
Gary Allan seems to occupy a space in between dyed-in-the-wool honky tonk traditionalists like Dwight Yoakam and the empty-calorie pop Nashville's been turning out for the last couple of decades. He was making recognizable country when recognizable country wasn't cool, and he still is. On his most recent long-player, last year's "Set You Free," Allan opts for just a touch more pop polish (though it's grafted onto a set of mostly upbeat rockers). That album featured Allan's first self-penned No. 1 hit, the pensive "Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)." Allan is the subject of an upcoming Great American Country channel special in which he opens up about the setbacks and tragedies he's faced during his long career, including the suicide of his wife. This fall, Allan will hit the road with Sheryl Crow, who'll be promoting her forthcoming country debut. Allan is also playing Friday night in Fayetteville at the Arkansas Music Pavilion, with Backroad Anthem opening the show.
A MID SUMMER NIGHT'S JAM IV
9 p.m. Stickyz. $5.
In what's become a summertime tradition, Stickyz once again hosts A Mid Summer Night's Jam, this being No. 4 (or IV, if you prefer) in the series. On the bill this year, you've got the blues-rock-'n'-roller-coaster of Interstate Buffalo moving it on down the line. The band is in trio form now after some lineup changes. If you're digging' on some Gov't Mule or Derek Trucks and so forth and you haven't yet checked the Buffalo, well hoss, you need to get with it. Then you've got Starroy coming straight outta Craighead County with the backwoods boogie that'll get the asses shakin' on the dance floor. And then you've got Stephen Neeper and The Wild Hearts (formerly The Stephen Neeper Band) who just positively smoke. It's like somebody tossed early period Black Crowes and "Some Girls"-era Stones into a bag with a couple-or-five bumps and shot of Pope County Juice and a pulled-pork sandwich. For the price of only $5, you absolutely will not find more rock 'n' roll anywhere at all ever. Interstate Buffalo keeps the party going until damn 5 a.m. at Midtown Billiards so, you know, probably start get yourself prepared now.